TfL salvages Oyster brand in deal with EDS, Cubic

Following termination of its contract with the Transys consortium for the running of the Oyster ticketing scheme, Transport for London has signed a replacement deal with Transys members EDS and Cubic

Transport for London has signed a new deal for the running of its Oyster smartcard scheme, gaining control of the Oyster brand in the process.

The deal with EDS and Cubic Transportation Systems was announced on Tuesday. Cubic and EDS are also members of the Transys consortium, which is currently managing and developing the Oyster ticketing scheme.

In August, TfL exercised a break option in the Transys contract, moving the end date of Transys's leadership of the scheme forward to 2010 rather than the originally planned 2013. According to a statement from TfL, the new deal with Cubic and EDS will run from 2010 to 2013.

The Oyster card, introduced in 2003, uses near-field communications (NFC), a form of RFID technology that allows payments to be deducted when the card is swiped near a reader module.

When it cancelled the Transys contract, TfL claimed it was doing so for business reasons, rather than the fact the Oyster system had twice run into technical difficulties shortly beforehand. Those failures led TfL to give Londoners free travel during the outages.

The Transys contract termination had coincided with the hacking of the Oyster card technology by Dutch researchers. TfL also denied this had anything to do with its decision to part ways with Transys.